The Moscow Metro Is Offering Virtual Tours of Its Famously Beautiful Subway Stations (Video)

The Moscow Metro is among the city's most popular tourist attractions; from Soviet design to hyper-modern architecture, each station has a unique history and identity. But while the Metro is still functioning, the city's recent lockdown means the best option is to enjoy its iconic stations online.

Mayakovskaya metro station in Moscow.
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A few weeks ago, the Moscow Metro Career Guidance Center announced that it will be offering five virtual activities per day, including guided tours and history talks about all things underground, through its official Instagram account. Each morning Moscow time, @profmetro posts a schedule of events that will be aired in their stories. These include architecture tours, behind-the-scenes footage of control rooms and training centers, and even access to historic stations that have been closed for years. Most of the content is in Russian, without subtitles, but English-language lectures are launching next week.

Operating since 1935, the Moscow Metro is the sixth busiest rapid transit system in the world, and the fifth in terms of track length. At time of writing, it has 236 working stations, with dozens more coming by 2023.

Novoslobodskaya Metro Station
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Can't-miss stations include Mayakovskaya, named after Vladimir Mayakovsky, one of the most renowned Russian poets of the 20th century — it feels more like a swanky ballroom than a busy central subway station. Don't forget to look up: there are 34 different ceiling mosaics based on the work of prominent Soviet artist Aleksandr Deineka. The 1938 Ploshchad Revolyutsii station, near Red Square, features 76 bronze statues by socialist realist sculptor Matvey Manizer. Novoslobodskaya station, opened in 1952, is famous for its 32 stained glass windows, while the palace-like Komsomolskaya station blends grand French Empire style with Soviet aesthetics. Slavyanskiy Bulvar, a newer station opened in 2008, has a geometric vaulted ceiling with many shades of marble and Art Nouveau elements inspired by the Paris Metro.

Hall of Ploshchad Revolyutsii (Revolution Square) Moscow Metro station. Interior of underground transport system. Statues of people doing different things.
Konstantin Aksenov/Getty Images

Want even more ways to explore? The website Metro 360 lets you take immersive tours of the Koltsevaya circle line, which has some of the most beautiful stations in the city, and is compatible with VR technology. Metro Walks offers photography and historical background for some of the most exquisitely designed stations, and for a meditative moment, YouTube user Anton V. has uploaded a relaxing video of a late-night ride on the newer Lyublinsko-Dmitrovskaya line.

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